Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Return Trip to Fork Peak

This weekend Craig was in town. He is trying to complete the peaks in the Bagger Challenge. We managed to help him complete Fork Peak and 1st Pump on Seymour. Here's Neil, myself and Craig's friend Steve on the top of Fork Mountain. Fork is at the far eastern end of the Grouse Range and can be accessed by trail the entire way. The temperatures were hot! 30 plus with no shade! Glad I had my sun visor and sunglasses. 
The selfie at the top - awesome views! Aprox 4 hours round trip. 
I dropped Neil and Craig at the top of Mt. Seymour so Craig could complete 1st Pump. I was concerned about our dear Fergus who had been stung by a bee the day before and had a bad reaction. Lynette and Gillian were able to pick them up after another successful bag of one more peak on Craig's to do list. We all enjoyed the patio in Coal Harbour at the local pub to celebrate the day. 
Fergus is doing well! He now has his own bee sting kit. Sounds very familiar! 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Knee Knacker #10 for Neil

The 27th running of the Knee Knacker (50km) took place this weekend. Here's Neil finishing his 10th Knee Knacker in 7:33. He has been very consistent with all 10 finishes being within the same hour. Well done Neil! Only 56 people have completed 10 Knee Knackers. 
Neil with the other 10 year finishers this year with their prize of a nice piece of aboriginal art. 
Chad, Randy and Neil at the finish line in Deep Cove. Beautiful setting for a race finish. Note the dry grass...for the event it was misting with rain, it was the first bit of moisture we have had for months. 

Congratulations to all those who participated in the 2015 Knee Knacker! Hmmm....will he go for #11? and for myself #5? 
Happy Trails! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Canada Day

We had a great Canada Day long weekend celebration. 
We started Canada Day with a very hot climb up Mt. Seymour, our new training ground with a consistent climb and good quad training on the way down. 

Later in the afternoon we enjoyed a bike ride on the sea wall to burn up all the lactic acid from the Mt. Seymour climb.  

Dinner and Canada Day fireworks in Burrard Inlet viewed from the roof top of the condo. Great show! 

And a quiet and reflective moment for Neil at sunset on Third Beach on the Seawal! We enjoyed a picnic at sunset on the beach. 

The smoke in the photos is from all the forest fires surrounding Vancouver. It's hot and dry here. Very heavy forest fire smoke and hot temperatures today - 38 degrees at the farm today! 

Another climb up Mt. Seymour with Neil and Dave. It was another hot one! This is an action shot of me trying to swipe that very large black fly - zoom it in and you can see the annoying creature.  Very Dodgy Beasts! That's 3 climbs of Mt Seymour this week, nice! 
And Vancouver had the excitement of hosting the FIFA Women's World Cup Final today between the USA and Japan.  The city was full of American fans this weekend and they were happy as their team won the final 5-2! The competition has been held across Canada with several cities hosting the 52 games played over the last month. It's been a great competition and a huge boost for women's soccer.....and for tourism in Vancouver and across Canada! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Quick Trip to Ottawa

Neil had a few days of work in Ottawa this past week. I went along on the trip to enjoy our nations Capital. This is the Peace Tower at the centre of Canada's parliament building.  The city was preparing for the Canada Day celebrations on July 1st. It was fun to be there with the celebrations ramping up. 
In the evenings we enjoyed the sunsets along the Rideau Canal. 
During the day I enjoyed riding a bike along the canals. 
They have these nice chutes for getting your bike down the stairs on the canal. 
Here's me crossing at one of the locks.  All the locks (of which there are many) are hand operated by Parks Canada employees.  
We also enjoyed a few runs along the canal. Last time we were here it was winter and we skated on the canal at minus 20!  How the seasons change! 
We arrived back to Vancouver Saturday night and climbed Mt. Seymour on Sunday. It's become our new local work out. It was really hot, 30 degrees at the parking lot at Mt. Seymour when we started. It was so dry and hot. Not many other folk out there! Kinda crazy of us!! 
Here's a view with Vancouver below. British Columbia is very hot and dry for the end of June. Forest fires are a concern with such high temperatures and dry conditions. 

We are looking forward to the Canada Day celebrations and fire works on Wed, July 1st. 
Happy Canada Day!!  ��

Monday, June 22, 2015

Whistler and a Vancouver Weekend

We enjoyed 3 nights at Whistler to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. A somewhat more civilized and relaxing celebration compared to the 100km trail event we did together last week. We came upon this bear while out for a bike ride. The bear acknowledged we were there with a shake of his head and then carried on with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. He/she must have been on a scent! 
Lost Lake bike trails - endless fun! 

Dogs are welcome at the Fairmont Chateau - Fergus was a hit with the hotel staff. They treated him with biscuits at every opportunity. Fergus is requesting a return visit! 
This past weekend we enjoyed a Vancouver weekend. Here's Dave, Neil and I on Mt. Seymour the granite mass that towers over Vancouver. It is a steady work out from the parking lot up to 4,754 ft. It is fabulous on a good day but nasty in poor weather. I think I will add it to my "clear sky day" work outs this summer! However, in winter, it's great for snowshoeing too! 
Here's Dave and I taking in the unique granite formations. The granite is fun to climb over. The surface feels "sticky" underfoot making it seem "non slip" on dry days. 
Once back to sea level we enjoyed a bike ride on the sea wall around Stanley Park in the afternoon. 
And then a nice dinner out was a perfect way to end a great Vancouver day. Coal Harbour at night with the sea plane terminal in the foreground. 
Sunday we went for a run on the sea wall. 
It was windy but the breeze was refreshing. It has been quite warm for the month of June. The forecast continues to be looking good! Hope you are making the most of this first week of summer! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

2015 Vancouver 100

The weather forecast for this past Weekend was for clear skies and high temperatures. This years edition of the Vancouver100 had to be completed by Sunday at 4pm and with temperatures reaching 30 degrees over the weekend, Neil and I made the last minute decision to start early on Thursday morning when temps looked to be a bit more moderate and our work schedules presented a golden opportunity to go play on the trails! We had planned to do the V100 together as a great and perhaps unique way, to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary! We were married on June 9, 1990. How can 25 years go buy so quickly?  It just emphasizes that we all need to enjoy our journey, no matter what that may be.  

The event this year was open to various custom versions. We had already completed the distance in training runs but wanted to pull it together in one continuous outing. So with Thursday the chosen starting day, on Wednesday evening we dropped water/gatorade/iced tea and coke at various points along the route. Historically we have had the help of Wendy for crewing but with this being a last minute decision and it being a work day for most, we opted to be self sustaining out there.  

We prepared our food for the journey which consisted of pizza, sandwiches, soup, chips, nuts and a few sugary things. Knowing that we had fluid along the route was very reassuring as we filled our packs with food. We parked Neil's monster truck on Nancy Greene Way on the way to Grouse Mountain. This would be the midpoint of the 100 Km's and so a good spot to refuel and recharge.  

Pizza - awesome trail food! 
6:00am starter photo at Cleveland Dam. Go Team! 
The route follows the Baden Powell trail. 
Funny things one finds on a trail sometimes!  Handy though for tired legs! 
The trail climbs from Cleveland Dam all the way to the top of Black Mountain. It was cloudy and very humid. It was raining with humidity! 
Very humid! 
Waterfalls along the way. 
Climbing up Black Mountain from Cypress - the bugs were bad! I had sprayed my buff with bug spray to try to keep them away from my face. 
Nice views of the ski runs at Cypress. By this point I had drunk 3 bottles of Gatorade and 1 bottle of water and eaten a piece of pizza and half of a PBJ sandwhich. I knew that with the high humidity and the amount that I was sweating I needed to drink plenty and get the calories in. I kept my long sleeves on to protect my arms from the bugs. I react badly to the black flies that live in our local mountains during the summer months. We always carry Benadryl and an Epi Pen (x2) just in case. However, with Neil being a Veterinarian I know I am in good hands (Team Dodgy Joke!) ;-) 
We were pleased to arrive at the bluffs but disappointed by the normally spectacular views of Vancouver and beyond which this day, were obstructed by the mist. We descended Black Mountain to Nelson Canyon. It always seems to take longer than expected to get out to the turnaround point. We had a water/Gatorade drop here and I was so looking forward to it. As we did not have any crew on the journey, the bottles of liquid that we had stashed the night before became something to look forward to seeing! We quickly filled up our liquids and returned to the trail as really there was nothing to hang around Nelson Canyon for.  I was dreading the climb back up Black Mountain as it is a beast!  Sea level to 3992ft (1217m) in relatively short distance a real test for anyone and the seemingly vertical climb is legendary amongst those familiar with Vancouver's north shore. The last time Neil, Marla and I did the V100 together I thought I was going to have the big  banger! However, all hard achievements take a good effort and soon we were back on top of Black again thankful that the beast was behind us.
The Dogwood - British Columbia's official flower was in full bloom along the route. How nice! 
There was a detour where the former Holyburn Lodge was, plenty of construction in the area. 

Once back at Cleveland Dam we were looking forward to seeing Neil's monster truck that had all our refuelling supplies for the next 50km. The skies had cleared and the sun was low in the sky and hot! We were really feeling the heat. A quick change of shirts, socks and consumption of food items from the cooler and a restocking of Neil's pack (another Team Dodgy joke) and we were off for the next 50km's. 

When we approached Grouse Mountain the after work Grouse grinders were heading home. It became very apparent to me that I was covered in mud, bug spray, sunscreen and sweat and a few funny looks were focussed our way as we beat a speedy path back onto the Baden Powell trail. 

The sun set as we were just finishing traversing the Baden Powell across Grouse. This is a particularly knarly section that seems to be really eroding badly with no trail maintenance and an increasing amount of traffic that uses it.  It's a morass of tree roots ready to catch the toe of an unsuspecting trail runner. I think one can say that generally for the Baden Powell the trail erosion and general wear and tear are making it very technical. Anyway, it's not just tree roots that one needs to look out for!  Just as we arrived at Mosquito Creek,  we had an almost classic collision with a mountain biker who came flying down the trail in the dark without any lights on. I thought for sure it was a bear and let out a scream that probably woke the neighbours! Now that got me pumped for the dark! And dark it was...the skies were clear but when in the woods you only get glimpses of the sky. 

Here's a picture taken somewhere in the dark of night between Grouse and Cleveland Dam. On this section we had liquid dropped at Riverside Drive and Indian River Road. Those drops were becoming my best friend throughout the night. It felt really lonely out there - one effect of not doing it when the majority of people are doing the event. My new headlamp was awesome. I even had it on the medium setting as Neil commented it was too bright! Only downfall is that it is charged with a USB connection which generally aren't that common on the trails! If you can remember to charge it before you need it - all will be good! 

I was so thrilled to reach Deep Cove in the dead of night.  All was quiet as the cosy neighbourhood slept (lucky folk!) and the water of Indian Arm was almost translucent under the light of the Moon.  Again, Neil cracked the whip and we didn't linger long before heading out for the final 25km. It was a real challenge to get moving up the climb out of Deep Cove. I was surprised how I was struggling so much. Once up onto a flat section my body settled into it again and I was moving better. Neil did remind me that we had now completed 75 Km's of a tough course so I had every right to be tired!  Neil was complaining about his back and shoulders from "that pack".  I think his only solace was that he had free access to the potato chips of which I heard frequent munching as we tromped along in otherwise silence.  It got to the point during the final 25km that I couldn't remember what section was next! (Even though I had just been here a few hours earlier!) Neil had to keep reminding me what came next and provided estimates of time to the next major trail junction and finally, for the finish.  

The birds were really singing as the sun came up and it was uplifting to hear them joyfully welcome in a new day of bug catching! For us, it only meant that we were close to the finish! Once we arrived at Grouse the morning Grinders were now there. Weird.  I actually wondered if some of them were the same folk we saw the previous night?!  

There was no sprint to the finish for Neil and I. No large cheering crowd of well wishers waiting with a morning coffee and a Starbucks breakfast sandwich. Just an unassuming walk into Cleveland with the realization that we had completed the V100 and had truly celebrated our 25 years together in amazing fashion! 

Congratulations to all who participated in this awesome event! Thanks Craig for pulling it all together. It all worked out with many happy participants. The post event party was great - it was nice to see everyone and hear their tales of their journey. I think we are onto something special Craig with this "non event". 

Not many couples can say they did 100km together to celebrate 25 years of marriage. Thanks Neil for a great 25 years and for another journey together at V100. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fork Peak - a nice journey!

It was such a nice weekend we just had to get out there! Neil, Dave and I wanted to keep the outing simple and not too long. Next weekend we are doing a 100km's for the Vancouver100. Here we are on the top of Fork Peak in the Grouse area. Fork Peak has been added to the list of North Shore peaks included in this years Bagger Challenge.  It is accessible via a very nice rolling trail at the end of Goat Ridge about 1km past Goat Mountain.  We also bagged Goat and Dam while we were out there to make a trio of peaks for our first bagging outing of the year.  
Here's Dave and I enjoying some lunch with a very nice view of the Needles range behind us.  
Look what came by when we were on top of Dam. 
Koola and Grinder, the grizzly bears at Grouse were very active when we went by. We even witnessed the 2 of them standing on their hind legs and having a bit of a fight. It was quite something to see. Thank goodness there is a fence between us and them! 
Today we had a good run at Hayward Lake in the morning and ended the day with an evening bike ride on the Pitt Meadows dykes. 
It is such a peaceful ride with magnificent views. Great way to cap off the weekend. Next post will be all about Vancouver 100. We are really looking forward to the journey - it's our 25th wedding anniversary so we will have plenty to reminisce about along the way!